Holiness: Living Distinctively

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The word holiness comes from a root word that means to be different. The Lord God demands those who carry His Name to manifest His character and to reflect His love. The “look” of holiness, sanctification, has been defined in various ways over the centuries. This five-day devotional will teach us what God means when He calls us holy.

Day 1

  • 1 Peter 1

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16

God Demands Distinction: The word used for holiness in the New Testament is “ἅγιος” (hag’-ee-os). It means holy one and was often interpreted as “saints” when referring to Christians. The root of the word implies being different. It means to be distinct. To be holy in all manner of conversation, “ἀναστροφή” (an-as-trof-ay) means to be distinct in all manner of life, conduct, and behavior.

Question: How are you different from those who have not accepted Christ?

Challenge: Identify an area in your life that is not distinct, and commit to change.

Day 2

  • Romans 12

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 

Holiness Defined: According to Dr. John N. Oswalt, holiness is behavior based on the character of God that is distinct from the world, which should be manifested in every believer in Christ.

People of the world determine their behavior based on trending, what is popular (who is doing it), or what will make them rich and famous. The believer’s behavior must be governed by the Word of God. Despite what the world does, every believer is mandated to show up in stark contrast to the world.

Living distinctively does not mean we can not be fashionable, prosperous, or enjoy life. It means we do not live the way the world lives. We dress modestly (cover ourselves), we earn our money honestly, and we are filled with the joy of the Lord. It is not what’s on us; it is what’s in us that matters. When what is in us aligns with God, then what is on us will also.

Question: What does holiness in today’s society look like to you?

Challenge: Meditate on Romans 12:2 and identify the ways you have been transformed in Christ.

Day 3

  • Exodus 19

“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation {distinguished}. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:4-6)

We Are Peculiar: The word “peculiar” (seg-ool-law’) means to be a valued possession. We belong to God. He has creative rights over us and Jesus has purchased us/redeemed us with His blood. Our Father has chosen us above all others and desires us to be distinct from the world, worshipping only Him. 

Being peculiar brings persecution. The believers of the Early Church were persecuted because of their distinctive lifestyle. They refused to pay homage to the Roman Emperor, worship Rome’s idols, or participate in its pagan rituals. Being separate and different from the world caused God’s people to be despised, imprisoned, tortured, and killed.

Question: The gods of today can be people, possessions, positions, and power. Have you placed anything above your love, worship, and commitment to God?

Challenge: Reprioritize your life and place God on the throne of your heart.

Day 4

  • Hebrews 12:14

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14  

Live Peacefully. The world is full of calamity, chaos, and confusion. God’s Word teaches us to strive for peace in a world of conflict. As defined in this passage of scripture, holiness means to be completely consecrated in our hearts and lives. Distinctive living requires us to be set apart in all areas of our lives and live in peace with everyone we encounter.

Questions: How peaceful are you? Have you consecrated your entire life to God?

Challenge: Seek to make peace with anyone with whom you are at odds. Assess your life and consecrate any area that you have not submitted to God.

Day 5

  • John 13
  • Luke 6

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35

Love Is Distinctive: Jesus taught the disciples that love was a distinguishing factor. When the Early Church began to spread throughout the world, the Christians were recognized for their acts of charity and the love that was manifested among the believers.

In Luke 6:32-33 and 35, Jesus emphasized the difference between the love of believers and the love of the world. “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same…But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”

Question: How is your love life?

Challenge: Strive to show love to those who do not express love to you.

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